High-end car audio advice

blahblah99

Platinum Member
Oct 10, 2000
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I've only dealt with low to mid end car audio and never really looked at high-end car audio equipment before... which are the better brands? Qualities I am looking for in order of importance is:

1) Sound Quality - Sound has to be CLEAN with a GOOD soundstage.
2) Features/EQ/DSP. SHould have a built in eq and crossovers with 3 sets of high voltage pre-outs.
3) Price. Somewhere in the range of $350 or $400
4) Cosmetic - Don't really care as long as it doesn't look like those nakamichi head units. They are excellent units, but look like factory units.

Also, I am looking for one under $500... close to $350 or so.

I'm thinking of the Clarion DRZ925, the pioneer premier DEH-940MP, or the Alpine 7897.. I am also considering Eclipse, Nakamichi, and kenwood excelon's. If anyone has any direct experience with any of these units, please list what you got and how your system sounds. Thanks :)
 

gogeeta13

Diamond Member
Dec 31, 2000
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Some of the latest HUs are getting very very good, but I still swear by separate EQ's. Being able to look at the EQ and see the settings all at once in front of you is worth it's price of admission alone. As for the 3 pre-outs, most of the high end units have those anyway.

I would say get an Alpine or Pioneer. The clarion and kenwoods have some odd quirks with operation, find osme reviews online.
 

Spoooon

Lifer
Mar 3, 2000
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Originally posted by: yakko
McIntosh.
Those are pretty damn ugly looking imho. Though, depending on the car it can look nice. Sort of classic looking I suppose.

McIntosh Labs

edit: High end car audio doesn't really dwell in the 300-500 dollar range.

edit2: My roommate has the CDA7995. I have a previous generation Alpine. They both look cool and sound good. Though I think a bigger factor will be the amps and the speakers that you'll be using.
 

Mucman

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
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Nakamichi's are the nicest looking decks IMO :), I like the simplicity... I hate how flashy decks are getting now.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
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a friend of mine who does competition has pioneer elite stuff. i think they sponsored him for a bit.
 

Spoooon

Lifer
Mar 3, 2000
11,565
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Originally posted by: Mucman
Nakamichi's are the nicest looking decks IMO :), I like the simplicity... I hate how flashy decks are getting now.
Yeah, they look cool but I read that the 45z has problems. Some kind of buzzing or ringing. Not all the head units suffer from it, but enough that I would be wary when buying.
 

blahblah99

Platinum Member
Oct 10, 2000
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edit: High end car audio doesn't really dwell in the 300-500 dollar range.

What I meant was if I can get a high-end headunit in the range of $350-$500, new or used.

For the amps, I am probably going with either a 4-ch phoenix gold, or 4ch precision power amp for my speakers, and a 2-ch precision power for my sub.

For the speakers, I'm definitely going components in the front, 6.5 coax in the rear and as for brands, I'm considering a pair of Dynaudio components.
 

AvesPKS

Diamond Member
Apr 21, 2000
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I've been wanting to upgrade my kenwood head unit for almost a year now. My only problem is, after experiencing a motorized flip face, I can't go back to a manual one. I've been looking at this for quite some time now, as it has the motorized flip face and plays mp3's.
 

yakko

Lifer
Apr 18, 2000
25,455
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Originally posted by: Spoooon
Originally posted by: yakko
McIntosh.
Those are pretty damn ugly looking imho. Though, depending on the car it can look nice. Sort of classic looking I suppose.
Yes they are but they sound great. I have heard complete McIntosh car systems that cost more than a lot of cars. Of course I got to listen to a McIntosh home system that costs more than my house. :)
 

amnesiac

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
15,781
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I'm using a Kenwood HU with a 5-channel amp by US Amps. Handmade in Florida and great, clean sound.
 

Shockwave

Banned
Sep 16, 2000
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SQ wise for the money you will not beat a Nak. The problems they have are with the load mechanism. They are kinda a weak point, and sometimes wont eject a CD out all the way, and on a few ocasions I've heard people have to send them back in. But, before Denon entered the HU market, Nakamichi was THE high end deck to own. And with a price of <500, its a steal, barring that damned load mechanism. It's what I'm seriously looking at.
Otherwise, I would do Eclipse. Other then Nak or Denon, I WILL NOT USE ANY HU BUT ECLIPSE!

Also, high end car audio usually tries to bypass the internal EQ network used in HU's. In fact, the Denon high end (its gonna set ya back over 2 grand) has no EQ. Hell, the thing doesnt even have a clock!! The only thing it does is play CD's!

Anyways, I vote either Nak's or Eclipse.
 

Maverick

Diamond Member
Jun 14, 2000
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what about high end that plays mp3? Or does high end mean you won't use "low quality" sources like mp3?
 

kherman

Golden Member
Jul 21, 2002
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Well, for head unit. I'd go with Eclipse or Alpine if SQ is your concern. Go with high voltage pre-outs. That's the real secret. Today 4-12 volts is common so you should be in good shape with most brands. Pioneer usually has a nice set of features on the head units.

OK, I have the PPI 4x50 amp powering my mids/tweets. I highly advice you get the 4x50 to power your fronts only. Just bridge the front and rear for each channel. I run some MB Quarts up front off that amp and you CAN NOT get better SQ. Yes, I'm putting 200 watts peak to each channel, but all it takes is caution when using it that way. My one tweeter is gone, but I think it's the wiring that broke. havn't gotten around to fixing it.

I have a PPI 2x150 watter powering a trio of JL Audio 8s. Wissh I had 10s,. but it';s all in a truck.

I'll warn you about PPI. For mids/tweets, they are the best! For subs, be careful abouit frying your amps. i've had mine fixed twice at 100 bucks a pop.
 

SaintGRW

Golden Member
Oct 14, 2001
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IMO Pinoeer headunit, pioneer cd changer, and MA Audio tweeters, memphis mids and sub's, and memphis amp...but price will be higher than your expecting
 

FlashG

Platinum Member
Dec 23, 1999
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Best bang for the buck.

Alpine CDA-7894


My son has last years Alpine in his car and he loves it. I just bought the 7894 for my old Accord. Putting a 2002 Hi-Fi in a 1992 car may be strange but it works for me. ;)
 

Maverick

Diamond Member
Jun 14, 2000
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Originally posted by: FlashG
Best bang for the buck.

Alpine CDA-7894


My son has last years Alpine in his car and he loves it. I just bought the 7894 for my old Accord. Putting a 2002 Hi-Fi in a 1992 car may be strange but it works for me. ;)
I was looking at this one pretty seriously...I just need the funds to afford it and an installation :(
 

Anubis

No Lifer
Aug 31, 2001
78,716
414
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Id go with a Alpine Head unit from Here. lowest prices anywhere. and get some Audiobahn Subs and your car will bounce down the road
 

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